Becoming a Pennsylvania real estate broker is a strong step forward in your career. Not only does this advanced license look great on a resume, it also allows you to work independently, open real estate brokerage firms, and manage other agents within these firms.
Getting the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License is a fairly simple process, but it does require you to complete five steps, and have a few prerequisites before applying or taking the broker’s exam.
This guide covers all of these requirements in a simple, easy to understand way that will make it easier for you throughout this process.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent vs Real Estate Broker
Pennsylvania offers two different types of real estate license: Sales and Broker.
A sales agent’s license is the initial license that real estate agents get in order to sell real estate.
A broker’s license is an advanced license that allows the license holder to operate at a higher level within real estate businesses in Pennsylvania.
People often confuse sales agents and brokers. A simple way to look at the difference is that holders of the sales agent’s license are called real estate agents, while holders of the broker’s license are called real estate brokers.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License Requirements
First, to be eligible for a real estate broker’s license, you must meet the prerequisites to become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania.
These prerequisites are:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a minimum of three years real estate experience
- Have a total of 200 points under a system established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which assigns points for certain real estate transactions — for example, a closed transaction is worth five points and active listings and residential leases are worth one point each
How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
Once you meet all the requirements listed above, you can follow these five steps to easily help you get your real estate broker license in Pennsylvania.
Step 1: Complete a Pennsylvania Broker Pre-Licensing Course
The first step to getting your real estate broker license in Pennsylvania is to get 16 credits or 240 hours of instruction in professional real estate education as determined by the Real Estate Commission.
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These real estate courses mostly cover the fundamentals of working in real estate and must be completed within two years of your broker’s license application. This requirement is divided into two sections:
In addition to mandatory courses on real estate law and management, you must take a minimum of three core courses from this list:
- Real Estate Finance
- Real Estate Investment
- Real Estate Sales
- Valuation of Residential Property
- Residential Constructions
- Residential Property Management
- Basic Appraisal Procedures
- Basic Appraisal Principles
Pennsylvania offers reciprocity with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. But if you’re an agent (or broker) in a different state during the previous three years, your experience and those CE credit hours won’t count towards your prerequisites.
Note:If you have a J.D. degree, bachelor's degree in real estate, or a bachelor's degree that includes coursework equivalent to a major in real estate, then you have met the education requirement.
After completing the courses, you must also pass the final broker course exam. The minimum passing grade is 75%. The final pre-license exam is to be supervised by a proctor, whether on-site or online. This is not the same as the state broker exam.
After passing your broker course exam, your pre-license education provider will provide you with your course completion documents. The Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS) recommends submitting your completion documents via its web portal.
Step 2: Submit a Pennsylvania Broker License Application
Once you meet the broker pre-licensing education requirements and pass the course exam, you can now apply for your license.
To submit your broker license application, you must use the PALS web portal.
The application fee is $126 for Broker Sole-Proprietor or $96 for Associate Broker. Use your registered username with PALS to log in and submit your application.
Step 3: Get Fingerprint-Based Background Check
After submitting your license application, you must have a fingerprint-based background check. You must submit your fingerprints via IdentoGO by IDEMIA.
To begin the fingerprinting process, visit PA IdentoGO or register by phone at (844) 321-2101. The fingerprinting fee is $22.60.
The fingerprints must be in the FBI’s required format and must be taken at an authorized Pennsylvania Department of Public Safety (DPS) site. A license will not be issued if you do not submit to a background check.
Note:If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for a real estate broker license based on your history, check out our article on Real Estate License Eligibility.
Step 4: Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam
After completing the steps above, you must take the real estate broker licensing exam via PSI.
The fee for the broker exam is $49.
In Pennsylvania, brokers take the same national section as real estate agents which consists of 75 scored questions. The state-specific section of the broker’s exam consists of 40 scored questions. You must complete the Pennsylvania real estate broker exam within 180 minutes (three hours total).
The passing rate is 75% for the Pennsylvania real estate broker exam: You must get 60 or more answers right on the national portion and 30 answers right on the state portion to pass the Pennsylvania real estate broker exam.
If you fail, you can contact PSI again in order to retake the test.
For more information on the exam, PSI provides the Pennsylvania Broker Candidate Information Bulletin.
Taking an exam prep course provides you helpful tools and materials, such as quizzes and specific state-only practice exams, to increase your chances of passing your broker license exam the first time.
Step 5: Application Review
When you’ve passed your broker exam and gone through your background check, you can submit an initial application online for your broker license.
This process should take about seven business days. If you have any questions at this point, you should contact the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission (PREC) at (717) 783-3658 or by email at RA-REALESTATE@pa.gov.
Now that you’ve successfully passed the broker licensing exam and obtained your license, there are a few things you need to do to keep your broker license active and updated.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License Renewal and CE
In Pennsylvania, you must renew your real estate broker license every two years. PREC will send you a renewal notice within 90 days before your expiration date. The renewal process is not the same for the broker license and sales agent license.
To renew your license, visit the Pennsylvania Department of State Renewal Page. The renewal fee is $126 for Broker Sole-Proprietor or $96 for Associate Broker.
As part of your license renewal, you are required to complete 14 hours of approved continuing education (CE) to renew or reactivate your license. CE courses must be completed through a state-approved education provider and must be approved by PREC towards meeting the renewal requirement.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania?
The costs of getting a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania can range between $376.60 and $596.60.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Pre-license education courses: $209-$399
Application fee: $126 — Broker Sole-Proprietor; $96 — Associate Broker
Fingerprint-based background check: $22.60
Broker exam fee: $49
How long does it take to get a real estate broker license?
The steps that typically take the most time when getting a broker license include taking pre-license education courses and exams. The average amount of time to get a broker license is generally three to six months.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Real estate agents focus on working with clients on individual real estate transactions, while real estate brokers have more experience with the added responsibility of managing a team of real estate agents or brokerage business.
See our Real Estate Agent vs Broker vs Realtor page for more information.
How much does a real estate broker make?
Real estate brokers get paid just like real estate agents by earning commissions on their agents’ sales. Brokers can also charge the real estate agents they manage with a fixed monthly fee or have the option to earn money on commission sales by helping their own clients buy and sell property. According to Payscale data, brokers earn $61,314 per year in base salary, with anywhere between $10,000 and $147,000 in commissions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median broker salary is $62,010.
How do I get a job as a real estate broker in Pennsylvania?
Browse through available real estate broker jobs in your area using our StateRequirement Job Board!
PAREC – Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Phone: (717) 783-3658
Fax: (717) 787-0250
Website: Real Estate Commission Guide
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in October 2022.
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